Hard Water: What It Is and What It Does to Your Home

Hard Water: What It Is and What It Does to Your Home

  • Stop me if this sounds familiar. Your shower always sprays water haphazardly and creates puddles on the floor. Your fixtures are unsightly and seem to trickle water. Your clothes get dingy quickly, and smells cling to them no matter how many times you wash them. Everything that comes in contact with your water has something wrong with it. Why the h*$% is this happening?

    Hard water.

    At Monkey Wrench Plumbing, we’ve served the Los Angeles area for over 14 years. In that time, we’ve seen the negative effects of hard water in every possible way. Since hard water is so widespread, we’ve trained to identify its warning signs, and we’re certified in its solutions. But we don’t want to keep this knowledge to ourselves. We want you to be well informed about problems that affect you.

    When you’re finished reading this article, you will know what hard water is, where it comes from, and what it can do. We’ll also give you resources on how to solve your hard water issues, so you can leave feeling empowered to protect your home.
     

    Faucet with water coming out of it

     

    What is Hard Water?

    So what is hard water? Hard water is water that contains large amounts of minerals like calcium and magnesium. Water hardness is measured on a scale from soft to very hard and is calculated by grains per gallon (gpg) or milligrams per liter (mg/L).

    The hardness scale goes like this:
     

    • Soft - 0-3 gpg

    • Hard - Over 3-7 gpg

    • Very Hard - Over 7-25 gpg
       

    As you can see, soft water can still have up to 3 grains per gallon (gpg) of hardness minerals before it is considered hard.
     

    Note: You can test your water’s hardness yourself or with the help of a plumber. See how to do a test here.

     

    Water hardness test strips

     

    Water Test

     

    How Do Minerals Get Into My Water?

     

    Now that you know hard water has minerals in it, you’re probably thinking, “where do the calcium and magnesium come from?” Well, water is really good at picking up random bits of things. It’s like Silly Putty in that way.

    As water moves through rocks and dirt, it dissolves some calcium and magnesium. The water then becomes “hard.

    For example: When it rains, the water seeps into the ground. That water passes through deposits of minerals. These minerals get incorporated into the water, and eventually, that mixture makes its way back to the surface through underground channels.

    Although water goes through a treatment process before entering your house, most treatment plants don’t remove hardness minerals. So the water remains hard when it enters your home.

     

    Rainwater like this seeps into the ground and picks up hardness minerals

    Someone splashing in muddy water


    What Does Hard Water Do?

     

    Hard water is safe to drink, and it can even be slightly beneficial for your health. Just think of it like taking a small vitamin. However, like vitamins, it’s not as effective as getting calcium and magnesium through your foods.

    Unfortunately, that’s where the hard water benefits stop. Hard water is terrible for:
     

    Hair & Skin

     

    When hard water interacts with bar soap, it creates a film called soap scum. This scum makes it hard for you to get completely clean. It can even irritate your skin and causes that squeaking sound when you shower.
     

    Clothes

     

    Hard water can also interfere with laundry detergent. It can make your clothes:

     
    • Smell sour

    • Feel stiff and rough

    • Look dull
       

    Appliances & Pipes

     

    Hard water creates scale buildup, also known as:

     
    • White buildup

    • Limestone buildup

    • Limescale

     

    Scale buildup can:

     
    • Eat through pipes

    • Etch glass

    • Block up your appliances

    • Create unsightly spots on fixtures

    • Reduce the lifespan of all your appliances

     

    Hard water buildup on a faucet handle

    Hard water on a faucet

     

    Next Steps to Fight Hard Water

     

    Hard water is a naturally occurring nuisance that can wreck everything in your home. But you don’t have to sit and helplessly watch it ruin clothes, appliances, pipes, your hair, and complexion. You can meet hard water head-on with water filtration.

    Water filtration options include:
     

    • Water softener - A two-tank system that removes most hard water minerals from your water. A water softener also makes your water feel slick. Below are some articles that break down what water softeners do and how they work.
       

    Water Softeners: A Crash Course

    Water Filtration: Water Softener vs. Flow-Tech

     
    • Flow-Tech - An anti-scale device that prevents hardness minerals from sticking to you or your things. Below is an article that goes into detail on Flow-Tech devices.
       

    Flow-Tech: What It Is and How it Saves You Cash

     

    Ready to show hard water who’s boss? Schedule an appointment with us by calling (310) 853-8690 or filling out our water treatment online form.